My fist mammography


Yesterday, after procrastinating – for two years – I finally entered the nearby radiology center to get my first mammography screening. Wanna read about it?

15h14: Carte Vitale[1]: check. Knickers in good condition: check. Waxed underarm: check (almost). My prescription… damn my prescription.

15h16: the appointment is in 10 minutes and I don’t have my prescription. Let’s focus and try to remember where I put it, on the 23rd of February, when for the third time my gynecologist drafted it for me, the first two were expired because I always had a swimming training on days with availabilities.

15h17: Now that most of the content of my « important documents » drawers (it’s the word “important” that matters)(of course, a list of Indians restaurants that deliver in Clermont-Ferrand is IMPORTANT) is on the floor of my living room, it’s much easier to find this f…… prescription, while if I don’t I can’t have my mammography done which is, well, my!… Tempting.

15h18: My prescription was sitting nicely in the box for worn out pens, the ones I swear I’ll throw away almost every week, but it’s a bit like stockings with runs in it, YOU NEVER KNOWS.

15h19: Come on, off we go, fear doesn’t keep you from danger and, in that very case, it might even be the contrary.

15h20: No but in reality this examination doesn’t worry me.

15h21: I am just shit scared.

15h22: On my way, I look at this avenue d’Italie with a completely fresh look. I mean, it could be that it is the last time I look at it in my previous life.

15h23: It’s so awesome, a phone shop.

15h24: I should phone my step-mother, all that bitterness could very well jinx me.

15h25: …

15h26: Calling my step-mother is harder for me than the possibility of finding something shady during the mammogram.

15h27: I am wondering if that makes me exceptionally brave or completely dumb.

15h28: I am right in front of the radiology center and oddly I feel very calm.

15h29: So calm that, for sure, it is a very bad sign. A bit as if I were relax when getting on a plane. It is definitely a DON’T. Everybody knows very well that fate always strikes when you are least expecting it.  And now, with an external look, it is obvious that I seem to be the girl who doesn’t except to be stricken by fate. VERY BAD.

15h30: After practicing to be scared, my heart is pumping at 200 and my hands are sweaty. Now, I think it is fine, fate must be jaded. In your face fate, I am TOTALLY excepting your striking, if I were you I would leave me alone because it will be so uninteresting.

15h31: I can barely keep up with my logic, I think I am panicky, it’s a good omen. Just saying. Ahahahahahahahah !!! I am not crazy you know. What time is it Mrs. Postwoman? In your ass.

15h32: I just discovered mammography’s Tourette syndrome. Not so nice. Whore. Enough.

15h33: The receptionist requests my previous results. “It is my first one”, I reply, almost touched.

15h34: The lady absolutely doesn’t care that it is my first mammography, she severely recommend that I bring my previous results next time I come.

15h35: Maybe she is a boob whisperer, she KNOWS it is the first one of a long series.

15h36: All in all, I think I will go for my first idea of the day, cardio training, right now I CRAVE it. Even having a root canal procedure. It is cool, to have a root canal, I would give everything to have a root canal right now. Or a rectal examination. Yes please, a rectal examination. Or I call my step-mother AND I apologize.

15h37: The technician comes to fetch me, she is young and very pretty.

15h38: “Remove the top part of your dress, you can keep the bottom part on”.

15h39: I pull the top of my dress down but shoulders + breast don’t go through the neck. I ask the young lady if I can take out one breast after the other.

15h40: I do so as I’m asking the question. Suddenly, I see myself from outside (it could be that I am experiencing near-death) with my breast hanging out of the neck of my dress. I am just missing an old raincoat and I can scare kids in a park.

15h42: The technician thinks it won’t be practical and thus advise to remove the dress completely. “Next time, remember to wear trousers”. She too, she KNOWS.

15h43: In front of the machine, before I realize, my left breast is stuck between 2 glass plates. That’s when you realize that your 95C[2] once pressurized looks like a 12 covers dessert dish.

15h44: Shots are taken and the technician comes back to grasp my right breast and put it through the same punishment.

15h45: While she’s there, she tells me that my breasts are super.

15h46: Admittedly I am confused. And a bit flattered. I mean, in a sense, this woman is a specialist. She sees some all day long, I would be surprised if she complimented all patients like this. On top of that she is stunning. Well, I am married and mostly straight, but today is the moment of truth, so I guess I’ll drop my conventional barriers. Life is short, oh my!

15h47: “Really, you think so? Well, after my last pregnancy, they slightly go…”

15h48: “Yes, yes, they are super for mammography: really flabby, really fat.”

15h49: I can’t recall what I saw in her

15h50: “Yes, for sure, it must be more complicated with small breasts”, I say this with a bit of contempt (The best defense is a good offense and, poor thing, she is as flat as a pancake).

15h51: “Oh no, size does not matter, there are big breasts that are very dense and firm! And in that case it is quite difficult to read the shots whether when it is fibrous and fat like y…”

15h52: OK, I GET IT.

15h53: My right slab of butter gets its share of rays too.

15h54: The technician comes back and she is not really smiling anymore. She asks me to go back to the dressing room. « But don’t put your dress back on, please wait for the doctor, she will explain».

15h55: is it me or something happened between the moment when we were chitchatting about my awesome breasts and when finally “I don’t put my dress back on and the doctor will talk to me”?


15h57: If I‘d call my step-mother from the changing room, could it possibly tip the scales in my favour?

15h58: I shouldn’t have left my job.

15h59: Sometimes I steal from my daughter’s piggy bank to buy cigarettes.


16h01: Someone gets me out of that            cubby hole or else I’ll start to act irrationally.

16h02: Like tearing off my toe nails for example. YES I DO THAT TOO.

16h03: A knock on my door.

16h04: A slightly older lady, not wearing a coat, asks me to follow her: “We’re going to do an ultrasound.”

16h05: On the prescription, it does not say I have to have an ultrasound done. They are making the decision to do an ultrasound on their own. THEY ARE MAKING THE DECISION TO DO AN ULTRASOUND ON THEIR OWN. Ok, give me five minutes, I AM GOING TO CALL MY STEP-MOTHER, GOT IT, GODDAMN!

16h06: “What you are saying is surprising because your assistant just told me that with breast as greasy as donuts like mine one don’t need to do ultrasound, ‘cause one can easily see if something’s wrong, so I confess, I am a bit worried now.”

16h07: “Yes but I prefer to double check”, so says the very professional looking, not wearing a coat, lady.

16h08: I want my mummy.

16h09: My breasts are covered with gel and I remember last time I saw gel like this was to check on Rose’s little face in my belly. Life is a dirty bitch. She gives, she gives and then without warning she comes and takes it all back.

16h10: The lady asks me if I have kids and if I breastfed them.

16h11: I find myself answering yes with the same proud of a good student’s who has learnt German declensions. I am not sure though it is great to ask that question at this particular moment. I mean, what if I didn’t breast feed? It would serve me right, here is what you reap madam, you should have thought about it earlier?

16h12: I am in a conqueror mood. When I am out of here, I’ll write an opinion column to Le Monde or Libé[3] on this subject. I WILL NOT BE HUSHED UP MADAM.

16h13: The fact remains that I breastfed. Indeed I don’t talk to my step-mother, indeed I smoke, indeed I steal from my children, but it can still be added to my credit can’t it?

16h14: The radiologist explores both of breasts, stays a bit longer on the left one, comes back on the right one, switches down the machine and declares that all is fine.


16h16: It is, despite everything, a good news.

16h17: I feel like the 100 kilos I had on my tummy have been lifted. Thank you fate.

16h18: On my way out, I pass a young woman who waits for her turn. She has a whole bunch of old shots on her lap and it looks damned usual for her. Fuck you fate, actually.

Edit: I know that amongst my readers some have lived the torment of an examination with disturbing result. My idea is not to transform such a moment into something funny, just to try to describe with my own words what we go through during those few minutes, keeping in mind that depending on the end, one can more or less laugh about it. I trust you understood.


[1] TN: The carte Vitale is used in France to identify beneficiaries of the national social security system.

[2] TN: Equivalent to a 36C in UK and US

[3] TN: Le Monde and Libé are two very famous national newspapers, with serious reputation.

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